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Post-attack air travel down 34 percent in September

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The number of air travelers in the United States declined 34.2 percent last month and the September 11 attacks are to blame, an airline industry trade group reported Monday.

U.S. airlines carried 30.3 million passengers last month, compared to 46 million in September 2000, according to the Air Transport Association. The number of domestic passengers declined 34.9 percent, while international dropped 28.1 percent, it said.

"The economic impact from the tragic events of September 11 continues to be unparalleled in the history of commercial aviation," the ATA said in a prepared statement. "Make no mistake -- we are grateful for the leadership of President Bush and the Congress in providing emergency economic stabilization assistance. However, this will be a slow recovery."

The association, composed of the nation's major carriers, noted that airline companies carried about 9 million passengers in the week before the attacks. The first full week airlines operated after the attacks, passenger traffic had dropped off to 5 million passengers -- a decline of nearly 50 percent.

Now, flights are more full, but "it should be noted they are based on a significantly reduced flight schedule," the ATA said.


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